The Phoenix Suns won game three of the 2010 NBA Playoffs Western Conference Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers in Phoenix, 118-109.
After much criticism for his lack of defense and scoring, Amare Stoudemire had a lot to prove in game three. Stoudemire responded by tying his career playoff high of 42 points and getting 11 rebounds.
“Just being aggressive, really going after it,” Stoudemire said. “Tonight I wanted to come out with some aggressiveness and get it going.”
“He knew he didn’t play well in L.A.,” Phoenix Suns coach Alvin Gentry said.
“My dedication to the game should never be questioned,” Stoudemire said. “I always give 100 percent. I try to dedicate my game to the game of basketball. I came out tonight with a chip on my shoulder and it was a must win for us.”
“You can never question my determination,” he said, “my focus, my dedication. That’s one of the reasons I’ve persevered through injuries and continue to try to improve every summer. My dedication to the game is at an all-time high.”
Robin Lopez, who hadn’t played since March 28 until this series because of a back injury, scored 20 points tonight for the Suns. Gentry called Lopez’s performance “a big surprise.”
Jason Richardson scored 19 points, making 4 of 7 three pointers. Steve Nash had 17 points and 15 assists and Grant Hill had 5 points and 9 rebounds. The Suns bench was quieter than usual tonight, scoring only 15 points combined.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 36 points, 11 assists and 9 rebounds. Pau Gasol had 23 points and 9 rebounds, Derek Fisher had 18 points and Ron Artest scored 12 points for the Lakers.
“We certainly didn’t come out to play the way I wanted,” LA Lakers coach Phil Jackson said, “and we certainly didn’t play the way I wanted at the end.”
“They attacked the hoop today,” Jackson said, “and, you know, earned 42 foul shots. That’s really the game plan. We seemed to be staying home on the 3-point shooters, and Stoudemire and Lopez had a night for them.”
The Suns played a lot of zone defense against the Lakers tonight.
“When they started making shots, we had to go to the zone,” Gentry said. “Tonight it worked and we stuck with it.”
Lamar Odom made just 4-of-14 shots, scoring 10 points and getting six rebounds before fouling out.
“It was one of those games,” Odom said. “It happens.”
Andrew Bynum, who has been bothered by his sore right knee, scored only two points tonight and may not play in game 4.
“I’ll talk to him and see how he feels about it,” Jackson said. “I think he was ineffective. There were some things that got by him.”
The Lakers now lead the 2010 NBA Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals 2-1.
Game 4 will take place Tuesday, May 25 at US Airways in Phoenix.